Kiyoshi Kurosawa Season and Biography

Genki Kiyoshi Kurosawa Season Banner

Regular readers will know that I keep ranting about four directors: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Sion Sono, Takashi Miike. and Shinya Tsukamoto. The reason these four men are always mentioned is that they have made a lot of my all time favourite live-action films. I’ve grown up watching a lot of Japanese films from classics to the most contemporary but it’s these four who have blown my mind with their imagination and use of the medium of film. There are few other directors out there who can match them, in my opinion. Sion Sono and Shinya Tsukamoto have had a season dedicated to them but my most favourite of all, Kurosawa, has not… UNTIL NOW!!!

This is going to be a short season dedicated to the maestro, Kiyoshi Kurosawa because I have reviewed most of his films that are available in the west already. It has come about because I have recently watched three of his lesser known works and two of them are going to be released in the UK this time next week! We start with a biography! A long and boring and incoherent biography! WAIT, COME BACK! There are pictures!

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Genkina Hito and It Came From Japan

The LAMB logoIt is getting close to Halloween and so this post is timely… I am a member of The LAMB (Large Association of Movie Blogs) and occasionally, very occasionally, I take part in some of the events organised by them. Recently I have taken part in Foreign Chops #6: It Came From Japan which hosts a bunch of reviews from LAMB members which are focussed on Japanese horror films.

Apparently this is the second largest edition of Foreign Chops and from what I can see the titles sent in are an interesting mix. There are some obvious titles like, Audition and Ichi the Killer, the splatter-fest Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl and classic kaidan eiga like Jigoku, Kuroneko and Onibaba and more recent J-horror like Ju-On and Ringu.

Onibaba Demon Hag

There are a lot of titles I wouldn’t class as strictly horror since they mix genres. Titles like the kaiju eiga Gamera vs. Guiron and Godzilla vs. Mecha Godzilla, and the dystopian action thriller Battle Royale.

There are even some non-Japanese films including, Bio Zombie and Three Extremes. While Three Extremes scrapes in (just) since only one section (the best) is Japanese, the others come from Hong Kong and South Korea, Bio Zombie is clearly from Hong Kong. It is also pretty unspectacular. Thankfully there are some interesting reviews of classic titles, notably from Silveremulsion with The Ghost of Yotsuya and Jigoku.

My reviews (picked with help by Goregirl) are for Cure, Retribution (representing Kiyoshi Kurosawa), Suicide Circle (probably the most fun I have had watching and reviewing a Sion Sono film), Tetsuo: The Iron Man (an incredible film from Shinya Tsukamoto) and Audition (Miike represented). Three of Japan’s biggest directors, five films that deserve to be seen and probably three of my more readable attempts at film criticism.

As for Halloween itself… on Wednesday I will post a review of a great horror film, a tradition I started last year with Shinya Tsukamoto’s Nightmare Detective.

Retribution さけび 叫 (2007)

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Retribution                                                  Retribution Poster

Romaji: Sakebi 

Japanese Title:さけび 叫

Release Date: 24th February 2007 (Japan)

Running Time: 103 mins.

Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Writer: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Starring: Koji Yakusho, Manami Konishi, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Riona Hazuki, Joe Odagiri, Ryo Kase, Hiroyuki Hirayama, Kaoru Okunuki, Ikuji Nakamura, Kenkichi Watanabe

With Kurosawa moving from the horror genre into the realm of drama Retribution is one of his last horror films. It bears all of the trademark imagery that Kurosawa is known for as well as his trusted male lead Koji Yakusho (Seance, Cure) and it is wrapped up in one of his intriguing supernatural mysteries.

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